RespondWell Marks Michigan Accelerator Fund's First Exit

November 13, 2016 - MiBiz

The sale of RespondWell LLC for an undisclosed sum was the first exit recorded by venture capital firm Michigan Accelerator Fund. While not a big win and generating only a moderate return on investment, the deal was still a success for Michigan Accelerator Fund and the first investment that went “full cycle,” said Dale Grogan, the fund’s co-managing director and a partner at Charter Capital Partners in Grand Rapids.  

“We were thrilled with it,” Grogan said. “It shows that we can assess the opportunities, invest prudently, and help coach the company to an exit.”

Formed in 2010 with $6 million in state seed funding and $9.1 million raised from private investors, Michigan Accelerator Fund invested in 10 portfolio companies and has essentially deployed all of its capital. Michigan Accelerator raised another $5 million this year for a subsequent fund, MAF Opportunity Fund, to provide follow-on investments to portfolio companies. more


Zimmer Biomet Acquires RespondWell Telerehabilitation Platform

October 27, 2016 - PR Newswire

Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH), a global leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, today announced the acquisition of RespondWell®, an award-winning telerehabilitation technology designed to provide personalized, clinician-supervised post-surgical physical therapy in the comfort of a patient’s home. The acquisition strengthens the Company’s recently announced Zimmer Biomet Signature Solutions™ commercial offering by integrating a comprehensive, at-home telerehabilitation capability designed to enhance patient compliance with physical therapy and improve the quality of recovery.  

“The new value-based reimbursement environment compels hospitals and providers to assume responsibility for patient outcomes well after discharge and through the critical rehabilitation period,” said David Nolan, Group President, Biologics, Extremities, Sports Medicine, Surgical, Trauma, Foot and Ankle and Office Based Technologies. “Integrating an innovative and comprehensive telerehabilitation program into our Zimmer Biomet Signature Solutions offering addresses the emerging need for healthcare providers to oversee and optimize post-surgical recovery outcomes in order to maximize value across the entire episode of care.”

"I believe RespondWell's innovative telerehabilitation platform will help our clinical care team enhance the quality and outcomes of post-op patient care by providing an interactive and motivating physical therapy experience that encourages patient engagement and compliance to physical therapy in a convenient environment, the patient's home," said Ronald A. Navarro, M.D., Regional Coordinating Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Kaiser Permanente. more


Phase 2 Trial for Ablative Solutions' Combination Drug/Device Therapy for Hypertension Initiated

September 13, 2016 - Medical Product Outsourcing Magazine

MAF-1 portfolio company Ablative Solution announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed the company's Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the Peregrine System Kit for catheter-based renal denervation, with targeted delivery of alcohol, for the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension to proceed. Under the IND, Ablative Solutions plans to conduct a multi-center, double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled trial to evaluate its drug-device combination therapy for the treatment of persistent hypertension despite optimal medical treatment, in conjunction with antihypertensive medical therapy.

The trial, called TARGET-BP I, will begin in the United States and will enroll approximately 100 patients in approximately 20 centers globally. The investigational Peregrine System Kit for the treatment of uncontrolled hypertension incorporates a specific formulation of dehydrated alcohol that is infused into the targeted area surrounding the renal artery using the Peregrine System Infusion Catheter, which has a general 510(k) clearance in the U.S. for delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents to the perivascular space surrounding peripheral arteries.  

The principal investigators  of the study are experienced thought leaders in the treatment of hypertension and include Michael Weber, MD, Professor of Medicine & Associate Dean of Research, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn, New York, and David Kandzari, MD, Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. The European Co-PIs are Felix Mahfoud, MD, Director of Special Hypertension Clinic, University Hospital of Saarland, Germany, and Atul Pathak, MD, Professor of Cardiology/Pharmacology, Clinique Pasteur, Toulouse, France.

"The mechanism for the use of targeted chemical denervation makes sense to me because I believe it has the potential to effectively reduce the over-signaling of the renal nerves that can contribute to hypertension," commented Michael Weber, MD. "The Company has received approval from the FDA to conduct a trial that studies the safety and efficacy of an intervention designed to address challenges that physicians face in managing patients with hypertension. The carefully considered trial protocol and the innovative catheter-based therapeutic delivery being studied in TARGET-BP I will attract considerable attention among the experts and practitioners who work in the field of hypertension." more


Michigan Accelerator Fund closes opportunity fund, oversubscribed

June 3, 2017 - Michigan Venture Capital Association

Charter Capital Partners announced the closing of the MAF Opportunity Fund. The $5 million fund was over-subscribed with investment commitments coming from institutional, family office, and individual investors. The Fund was organized to invest in elite companies from its predecessor fund, Michigan Accelerator Fund I.

John Kerschen and Dale Grogan serve as managing directors of the Michigan Accelerator Fund I and the MAF Opportunity Fund. The management team is rounded out by Brian Hamilton, Senior Venture Capital Associate.

“Over the past five years, we believe that we have built a strong portfolio within the Michigan Accelerator Fund, with several companies demonstrating excellent progress towards value accretion and a near-term exit,” said Kerschen. “As our portfolio companies mature, they have continued capital needs. Like many smaller, early-stage venture funds, we were nearly fully deployed and had limited ability to continue investing in the portfolio; hence the development of the MAF Opportunity Fund.”

“The fact that the Fund was oversubscribed in seven weeks indicates that investors support our vision and the investment thesis of early-stage investing in Michigan-based companies,” said Grogan. “We have seen tremendous investment opportunities over the past five years and fully expect that this trend will continue as realizations occur. Hopefully success will beget success and we will have the opportunity to raise another fund in the coming years.” more


Hot capital market balanced by a lack of early-stage investors

Michigan’s venture capital and angel investment industry is growing up fast, getting more sophisticated and starting to make later-stage investments into companies. Meanwhile, private equity firms continue to operate in a hot acquisition market, and family offices are taking a large presence as well and competing more for deals. Those were some of the perspectives from a panel of professionals who met with MiBiz for a roundtable discussion on the state of private capital in Michigan."

According to Dale Grogan, managing director of the $15.1 million Michigan Accelerator Fund I and managing director at Charter Capital Partners, "The venture industry is maturing significantly in Michigan. After the thaw in Michigan in 2010 and ’11, lots of funds started coming into being and so we’re now seeing that maturing where those initial investments were made. We’re starting to see a separation in the quality of the investments, and there’s a separation also occurring in terms of the entrepreneurs. Those guys that know what they’re doing that have access to the markets are finding velocity. Those that don’t are still going to have a tough time, particularly when you look at the angel groups and early-stage investors moving downstream." more

Renal Denervation: Where Are We?

July 1, 2015 - Medscape

Helping patients reach their blood pressure goals can be difficult in some cases. As a result, there has been increasing interest in developing device-based therapeutic strategies that target the sympathetic nervous system, including catheter-based renal denervation (RDN) devices. A resurgent interest in renal denervation has helped spur multiple start-up companies with newer technologies to successfully accomplish RDN [including MAF-1 portfolio company Ablative Solutions]. One innovation involves catheters that facilitate microneedle delivery of guanethidine or ethanol. These have shown excellent promise, and may offer the advantages of shorter procedure times and less patient discomfort. more*

* Please note that to view the entire article (and all other content on Medscape from WebMD), a one-time registration is needed, which is free of charge.


Renal Denervation for Drug-Resistant Hypertension: There Is Still Hope

June 2015 - Cardiovascular Revascularization Medicine

Editorial by Vasilios Papademetriou, MD (Professor of Medicine) Georgetown University Interventional Cardiology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center Washington, DC

In this issue of the journal, MAF-1 portfolio company Ablative Solutions’ Tim A. Fischell et al, publish their results using a new, innovative technique that can provide complete and permanent renal neurolysis and complete renal denervation. Indeed, the procedure seems to be safe and effective. In fact, this is the only study that reported substantial blood pressure and medication reduction in all participants following renal denervation. It is also the only study that demonstrated fiber neurolysis at a depth up to 13mm from the lumen, essentially affecting 100% of the perivascular sympathetic fibers. The reduction of NEPI by N88% also concurs with this impression. From the totality of the renal denervation literature, it becomes apparent that close-to-compete denervation is necessary to achieve optimal blood pressure reduction in suitable patients. This technique therefore merits further investigation. more


Next generation renal denervation

June 2015 - Cardiovascular Revascularization Medicine

This paper co-authored by MAF-1 portfolio company Ablative Solutions’ Tim Fischell, Vartan Ghazarossian, et al, describes the preclinical results, in a porcine model, and the early first-in-man results, using the Peregrine™ chemical renal denervation catheter to perform renal sympathetic denervation using micro-doses of alcohol. The paper concludes that perivascular RDN using micro-doses of alcohol is a promising alternative to energy-based systems to achieve dose-dependent, predictable, safe and essentially painless renal denervation. Further clinical evaluation is warranted more


Filling the VC funding gap in Michigan

June 8, 2015 – MiBiz

The venture capital industry’s success over the last decade in Michigan has created a significant challenge as the demand for funding in the next few years far outpaces the availability of capital, requiring a broader approach by managers creating new funds. The Michigan Venture Capital Association’s annual research report identified an estimated $1.3 billion need from existing portfolio companies for follow-up investments in the next few years. Prospects to help fill that gap include institutional investors that historically have not put a lot of money into state-based VC funds — the pension funds, endowments, foundations and family offices. But that could be changing as they now appear to have a greater willingness to invest their money in Michigan companies, sources said.

Part of the higher interest from institutional investors stems from the maturation of the state’s venture capital industry that has many firms now looking to form larger, successor funds in the next few years, said John Kerschen, co-managing director of Michigan Accelerator Fund I. Michigan-based funds that formed in the last decade continue to progress with their initial investments and reached a level where they will “be generating returns to those investors that are attractive,” Kerschen said. “That will help draw more LPs that can contribute larger dollars into our next generation of funds.”

Institutional investors have been reluctant to put money into the small, first-time funds in Michigan that have formed over the last decade and first want to see a track record of success, he said. “Institutional investors that can invest all over the country or all over the world aren’t going to entrust large sums of money to small, first-time, unproven fund managers — and most of us in the state are still in that early development,” Kerschen said. “The bulk of the Michigan-based venture organizations are still relatively young and we need to prove our capabilities via returns.”

Michigan Accelerator Fund I has so far invested $10 million in eight portfolio companies. The firm in time will begin to look at forming a second fund, Kerschen said. more


Ablative Solutions Announces CE Mark of the Peregrine System™ Infusion Catheter 

May 13, 2015 - PRNewswire

Ablative Solutions, Inc. (ASI), a venture-backed, privately-held clinical stage company headquartered in Kalamazoo, MI, with offices in Menlo Park, CA, today announced that it has received the CE Certificate of Conformity allowing ASI to apply the CE Mark to the Peregrine SystemTM Infusion Catheter.  This will enable the Peregrine System to be used to treat hypertensive patients in Europe with the infusion of a neurolytic agent into the perivascular space surrounding the renal artery, targeting the sympathetic nerves that contribute to hypertension.  This targeted approach offers physicians a new tool to help manage patients with high blood pressure.  more